The Provision of Charitable Food Assistance in Canada

Affiliated Projects

The Provision of Charitable Food Assistance in Canada: Forging A More Adequate Response


National Study: Although the root causes of income-related problems of food insecurity do not lie at the community level, communities continue to be charged with the task of defining and resourcing initiatives to help people meet basic food needs. Yet much of this work is invisible, or it has been around for so long now that we have begun to take it for granted. We began this study to chart the full scope of charitable food provisioning activities in Halifax, Quebec City, Toronto, Edmonton and Victoria and to assess each community’s capacity to recognize and respond to local problems of unmet food need.

Local Project (HRM): A comprehensive list of agencies and organizations running charitable food assistance programs in Halifax Regional Municipality’s urban core – Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford – was compiled by collating and cross-checking several locally available records. Agencies were eligible to participate in the study if they provided free food (or food for a nominal fee, like $1-$2) in the form of groceries or prepared meals and snacks. A total of 60 agencies were identified.

On March 20th, 2013, FoodARC held an event in which we shared and held discussions regarding local findings relating to the national research study, “The Provision of Charitable Food Assistance in Canada.” The local results from this research both sparked and continued meaningful conversations around the issues and responses to food insecurity in Nova Scotia.

Talk – Understand – Resolve – Move:
The Role of the Charitable Food Sector in Community Food Security

Panelist Presentations:
(for those who used technology)

Sarah Lake and Patty Williams
Charitable Food Systems in Canada: Key Findings from the Halifax Regional Municipality

[prezi id=’’ ]

Christine Saulnier
The Economic Costs of Poverty and the Benefits of Poverty Elimination
(PDF, 160 KB)

Peter Andree
The role of the Charitable Food Sector in Community Food Security
(PDF, 1.4 MB)

Marjorie Willison and Kristen Hollery
Food Actions in Spryfield for the ACT for CFS Research Project
(PDF, 42 kB)

Project Partners

Thanks and appreciation to all participating organizations for their time and contributions to this study, and in particular to the NS Food Security Network for their collaboration on the research within Halifax Regional Municipality.

Project Leaders:
  • Valerie Tarasuk,
  • Laurie Ricciuto,
  • Naomi Dachner and their team
  • Blake Poland, University of Toronto
  • Patty Williams, Mount Saint Vincent University
  • Stephen Gaetz, York University
  • Aleck Ostry, University of Victoria
  • Kim Raine, University of Alberta
  • Anne-Marie Hamelin, University of Laval
Assistance with Data Collection:
  • Martha Steigman
  • Zara Fischer-Harrison
  • Sarah Lake
Organizing team for the March 20, 2013 Halifax event:
  • Julianne Acker-Verney and Becky Mason
    (FEED Nova Scotia);
  • Kim Barro, Nicole Druhan-McGinn and Rita MacAulay
    (Capital District Health Authority)
  • Trudy Reid
    (Nova Scotia Food Security Network)
  • Heather Hunter and Felicia Newell
    (FoodARC, Activating Change Together for Community Food Security)

This research was funded by an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

For more information on the CIHR funded project “The Provision of Charitable Food Assistance in Canada: Forging a More Adequate Response” please visit Dr. Valerie Tarasuk’s program of research site –